Fittonia albivenis (Argyroneura Group)
Common Name: silver fittonia 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Acanthaceae
Native Range: Peru
Zone: 11 to 12
Height: 0.25 to 0.50 feet
Spread: 0.50 to 1.00 feet
Bloom Time: July to August
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Insignificant
Leaf: Colorful, Evergreen
Other: Winter Interest

Culture

Winter hardy to USDA Zone 11 where plants may be grown outdoors as creeping ground covers (stems root at the nodes when they touch the ground) in protected locations in shady areas. South of USDA Zone 11, this plant should be grown indoors as a houseplant in a peaty or soil-based potting mixture. Indoors, it is best sited in bright indirect light (east or north window) or dappled part sun. Avoid direct sun. Room temperature should always remain above 55 degrees F. Plants prefer high humidity. Withering of leaves may indicate a need for increased humidity. One way to increase humidity is with a room humidifier. Another way is to set the potted plant on a wet pebble tray and, as the water evaporates, add new water as needed. Misting the foliage also helps. Dwarf forms of this plant can be grown in the humidified atmosphere of a terrarium. Water plant soils regularly but moderately during the year. Yellowing of leaves may indicate overwatering. Pinch off ends of growing stems to shape plants and to promote denser foliage. Many growers also pinch off any flowers buds that may appear. Propagate by stem cuttings.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Fittonia albivenis is a creeping, evergreen perennial that is native to tropical rainforests in South America (Columbia and Peru). Plants are typically grown to showcase the striking foliage. Argyroneura Group plants feature dark green leaves with white veins and Verschaffeltii Group plants feature dark green leaves with red/pink veins. Intricate leaf veins give rise to the common names of nerve plant and mosaic plant.

Argyroneura Group plants typically grow to 6" tall and feature attractive broad ovate green leaves (to 4 1/2" long) with a striking network of white veins. Plants rarely flower (yellowish-white in spikes) in cultivation. Flower buds are often removed as they appear because the flowers detract from the attractive appearance of the leaves.

Genus name honors the sisters Elizabeth and Sarah Mary Fitton (d.1866), authors of Conservations on Botany (1817).

Specific epithet means with white veins.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Watch for mealybugs, scale and slugs. Spider mites may appear. Rots may occur if plants are overwatered. Susceptible to leaf spots. Foliage will scorch in direct sun.

Garden Uses

Ground cover in tropical areas. As a houseplant, best in hanging baskets or containers. Dwarf plants for terrariums.